Cable’s newest contribution to daytime programming, “Lifetime Live,” does not try to be all things to all people but at least tries to be all things to all women. With a broad format including news, interviews, stories of “inspirational women” and health advice, “Lifetime Live” is not the slightest bit bold or creative or even different in tone or content from what’s on the networks. But it’s smoothly produced, boasts a couple of likable hosts, and may be able to survive on a small audience for a while until it develops a catchier identity.
Newsmagazine reporter Deborah Roberts and actress Dana Reeve bring very different backgrounds to the show. Roberts tends to conduct the issue-oriented parts of the interviews, and she’s certainly well-informed and prepared. Reeve brings her personal life into the arena, which is appropriate, since her husband Christopher’s accident brought Dana into the national spotlight. Both have a classy yet easygoing presence, and it would be interesting to see them talk to each other a bit more than they do. For the first installment, they pretty much just introduced what they were going to do and then did it.
After beginning with a segment on a 30ish woman who had a baby after battling breast cancer, premiere show brought out a pair of powerhouse guests in Hillary Clinton and Melissa Etheridge (there would be an exciting team of morning hosts for you!). The first lady presents a challenge to any interviewer; it’s almost impossible to ask her about what people really want to know and keep one’s dignity at the same time.
Roberts came up with a good multileveled question when she asked Clinton why female voters don’t seem to be responding to her Senate campaign. When Hillary gave a typically vague response, Roberts even dared to ask if maybe some women question how she’s handled her private life. The questions, not surprisingly, are more interesting than the answers.
Reeve did better with Etheridge, asking the rocker about raising children in a non-traditional family by first comparing it to her own. She even made the rather sensitive but common query regarding the male influence in her kids’ lives.
The set is softly colored, but the background looks too much like a plain old bluescreen. Overall, the design tends toward the frilly but bland; the news desk, where Rebecca Gomez recites a few headlines, seems out of place. As the show finds its voice and figures out exactly what it wants to offer, the set will probably change as well.